George Moses Horton

The Swan - Vain Pleasures

The Swan which boasted mid the tide,
Whose nest was guarded by the wave,
Floated for pleasure till she died,
And sunk beneath the flood to lave.

The bird of fashion drops her wing,
The rose-bush now declines to bloom;
The gentle breezes of the spring
No longer waft a sweet perfume.

Fair beauty with those lovely eyes,
Withers along her vital stream;
Proud fortune leaves her throne, and flies
From pleasure, as a flattering dream.

The eagle of exalted fame,
Which spreads his pinions far to sail,
Struggled to fan his dying flame,
Till pleasure pall'd in every gale.

And gaudy mammon, sordid gain,
Whose plume has faded, once so gay,
Languishes mid her flowery train,
Whilst pleasure flies like fumes away.

Vain pleasures, O how short to last!
Like leaves which quick to ashes burn;
Which kindle from the slightest blast,
And slight to nothing hence return. 

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